You’re probably aware that we’ve officially entered both the holiday season and flu season. This year, we’d like to help you focus on the spirit of giving…except when it comes to giving the flu!
There’s still time to get a flu shot. Flu season lasts through Spring each year. In fact, in June of this year there was a late-season flu-related death here in San Diego County. Regardless of age or health condition, anyone can catch the flu, and get very sick. Even if it’s a mild case, he or she can still spread it to other people, like family, friends and co-workers. People with flu are contagious even before they develop symptoms. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get this important protection.
Our clinic has been full of the holiday spirit as families, couples, children, and adults of all ages have been coming in for their flu shots. For those of you who have already come in for your flu shot, kudos! For those of you who haven’t had the time or might be hesitant to get the flu shot, please take a few minutes out of your schedule to squeeze this important preventive health visit in. We can provide flu vaccines to anyone who is 4 years of age or older. If you have health insurance, the cost may be covered. For example, Medicare covers this vaccine. If you don’t have insurance, we have the lowest prices (only $25 for the regular flu shot that covers 4 virus strains and $54 for the high dose flu shot if you are over age 65).
Hope to see you in clinic soon! Happy Holidays!
In addition to protecting yourself with the flu shot, there are some other things you can do to help avoid getting sick with the flu, colds and other respiratory diseases (and avoid spreading illness to others):
- Cover your coughs and sneezes. Use a tissue or your arm.
- Wash your hands often, with plenty of soap and warm water.
- Stay away from sick people whenever possible.
- Stay home when you’re sick.
- Get enough rest, exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet.
These tips are helpful in protecting your health all year, not just during flu season.
MYTH #1: The flu shot gives you the flu.
The flu shot doesn’t give you the flu, because it can’t. The flu shot contains killed virus. That killed virus can’t infect you and give you the flu. You may have received a flu shot in the past and then become sick after that. But it wasn’t caused by the flu shot. It could be that you were already infected with the flu before you got the shot. Or it could be that you had become infected with another strain of the flu that wasn’t in the vaccine. Or you may have had a respiratory infection or a cold, and experienced flu-like symptoms. But that doesn’t mean you had the flu.
MYTH #2: I don’t need the flu shot because I never get sick.
Even if you have never been sick, that doesn’t mean you will never get sick. If your loved ones have never been in a car accident, does that mean they shouldn’t have to wear a seat belt? Of course your answer is NO, so why take chances with the flu? The virus doesn’t care how healthy you’ve been. You can still catch the flu and become very ill. You can miss work, school and other important activities in your life. And you can make others sick, too—including people who have health conditions like heart disease or cancer that make them especially vulnerable to flu and its complications like pneumonia. The flu can even be fatal. (For stories about real people whose lives were touched by vaccine preventable diseases like influenza, visit http://www.shotbyshot.org.)
MYTH #3: The flu isn’t a big deal.
We wish that was true! Last year in San Diego County alone, there were nearly 7,000 cases of flu that resulted in 120 hospitalizations in the intensive care unit (ICU) and 68 deaths.